Tributes paid to stalwart Stevenage politician Peter Metcalfe

Peter Metcalfe

Peter Metcalfe - Credit: Archant

A stalwart Stevenage councillor has paid tribute to his long-serving colleague and mentor Peter Metcalfe who has died at the age of 86.

Stevenage Liberal Democrat group leader Robin Parker wrote to the Comet to express his sadness at the death of Mr Metcalfe, who was a well known local Labour and then Liberal politician in the 1960s to 1980s on Stevenage Borough Council – and who helped Councillor Parker forge his career in politics.

Mr Metcalfe died peacefully on June 27, having been married to wife Barbara for 60 years.

The couple had two daughters, Victoria and Caroline, as well as five grandchildren.

Mr Metcalfe’s family said: “He was a much-loved father, a doting grandfather and a witty raconteur to his many friends. He will be much missed.”

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Mr Parker said: “I was very sad indeed to hear about Peter’s passing.

“Peter was friendly and approachable and often got otherwise ‘anti’ voters laughing with us and on our side.

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“He did so much for the party – not only election work, but attending meetings, writing letters and organising fundraising and social events.

“I will treasure so many memories of the things that he said and did. I have lost a wise and knowledgeable mentor. While we did not always agree – who does? – I had immense respect for Peter’s dedication, knowledge, good humour and friendship.

“I will always remember him with a smile and happy thoughts. I send my sincere condolences to Barbara and all the family.”

Mr Parker said he first met Mr Metcalfe in 1966 when, as a 13-year-old, he went canvassing with him for Labour in the local elections following that year’s General Election.

Mr Parker said: “It was somewhere in Chells because at that time I believe that he was councillor for Chells ward. A few days later, I recall delivering lots of leaflets advising people to vote ‘Metcalfe and Cotter’. I was impressed even then that he always made sure to include me – a mere kid – in the conversations with other adults in the party.”

Mr Parker left the Labour Party at the end of 1967, and was then in no party until the SDP was formed in 1981. At the inaugural meeting of Stevenage SDP, in June 1981, he was pleasantly surprised to find that Mr Metcalfe not only remembered him but also recalled where he had lived in the 1960s.

He said: “Peter taught me most of what I know about canvassing and fighting local elections, the commitment needed and the fundamental importance of meeting people at their doors.

“Peter had a great sense of humour and was fun to be with. He was reliable, totally devoted to the cause and a valuable role model. Despite working at a full-time job, he always found the time to help and guide me. He came out canvassing in pouring rain with me, when no-one else would.”

There will be a private cremation followed by a celebration of life on a date yet to be announced.

Enquiries should be made to The Co-op Funeralcare in 42 High Street, Stevenage.

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